»CRAZE: Questionnaire for new Choreography« showcases emerging choreographers and investigates the artistic practices of contemporary dance. Between care and intimacy, Snorre Elvin creates new queer folk dances with a twist of sci-fi.
I think I have always been a dancer and since I was a kid, I was making my own dances to my favourite pop songs. Back then I was not too busy with thinking dancing and singing as separate entities. A song would have a dance and a dance would have a song. I remember me and a friend singing along to the tracks played at our first »street-dance« class in our early pre-teenage days. The teacher was surprised and commented on our singing as if it wasn’t something that would usually happen in her classes. She did it with a kind of positive attitude but still; that moment dancing and singing kind of split in two inside of me.
I stayed with dancing and I still stick with it as it shows me ways of existing as a moving and transformative body in an ever changing and intra-connective relation to the world. It shows me ways of being that go beyond conventional definitions of function and purpose of movement. It fosters spaces of community, queerness and pleasure as well as ways of working with the unknown and the invisible.
Dance keeps unfolding itself to me and singing has beautifully re-entered my work with no question mark.
What is your personal (and maybe daily) practice?
I spend a lot of time with a practice of allowing movement by listening to what sensations, emotions and movements are already there – both inside and outside my body. Within this practice I work with layers of acceptance, curiosity, a letting go of expectations and staying in the present moment without judging its authenticity. Sometimes dancing appears, other times lying on the floor is the best way to work through it.
Most days I do some sorts of somatic yogic practices to maintain my overall health. I breathe, I rest, I stay still, I stretch and I move – on my own and with others. I do my small everyday rituals and try to practice them with care.
A part of me is also a real showgirl; I dress up and make scenes – practice seeing and being seen. I work on how to make containers for dance and performance to thrive within. I move around the objects around me, relocate the materials in the spaces where I find myself and work on ways of hanging out with what is there. Living in, being part of and dancing with the ecologies around me in the big cities that I spend most of my time in.
How do you generate material?
My work often starts from a place of needs and desires – whether that is personal or collective. Lately, working with different technologies of care has been very present in relation to that. In staging practices that comes from multi-sensorial experiences and places of imagination, I operate with a sense of multiplicity within the production of images. Both allowing these practices to have their own aesthetics whilst navigating the images and stories that might appear which wasn’t necessarily the initial intention of the practice. So, I’m very much trying to balance these worlds of sensation, imagination and images to open up a space for multiple stories to be told through the dances and movements happening in a space of a performance.
Collective modes of working play a big role as well. I often use rotational facilitation systems where authorship is shared and practice listening to the logics the work proposes on its own to see where it takes us. In porous nests – a collaboration with Peter Scherrebeck and Katrine Staub – we work a lot with intuition as well and trying not to be too critical in the creative processes. Instead, we allow different references – such as paradise birds building seductive nests as temporary homes and urban cowgirls on tour – to weave with practices around consent and choral versions of pop songs to create what could be considered new queer folk dances with a twist of sci-fi.
What is an audience for you?
For many years I’ve been working with the action of giving and receiving dances as gifts. Considering the dances that emerge from this gesture as a something shared between the giver and the receiver.
In the group dance for plants, of which I was a member for years, dances are addressed to plants as the name implies. This gesture of dancing for a plant has forever changed my approach toward giving and receiving in a larger picture: considering both actors as agents in an intra-action. I see this exchange as a circular movement. These approaches are closely connected to my practices of listening as well. I like to see the dancer’s role as a navigator, moving through the whole space as an ecosystem, responding to it and being part of it.
Can you remember the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
As young teenagers, me and my friends would often hung out in the contemporary art museum ARoS in my hometown Aarhus. There wouldn’t be a big difference back then in hanging out in the art museum or at the shopping mall. Both served as huge indoor places without entrance fee that allowed for us to play around, explore and challenge ways of being in public space.
I specifically remember spending hours in the installation »Dawn at the Neighbours House« by Pipilotti Rist in the dark basement of the museum. The installation simulated an apartment with an eight minute day repeating itself over and over. Something was calming, yet uncanny about this apartment where time was in such a fast pace and yet stood still. It must have been the first piece of art I met that facilitated a sense of hanging out with and spending time within.
I also wish to mention the album »Oops! … I Did It Again« by Britney Spears as a huge impact.
Your personal utopia would look like…?
A place where multiple ontologies can thrive side by side and weave with one another. A place where we can stay with the complexity of things and live without fear of the unknown. A place where borders, money, design, architecture and papers don’t choreograph our bodies and decides how and where they can move. A place where our bodies are not instrumentalized by capitalism and a society where movement is not limited to a conventional notion of function. A place with a deep understanding of connectivity and a place where human supremacy, white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism don’t exist.
Your work is often distinguished by the creation of alternative environments or biotopes of bodies, objects used against their »intended« function and different material states of aggregation. In relation to your collaborative work, can you elaborate a little on these practices of transitional spaces.
At the moment I’m working on the performance pour it with Nanna Stigsdatter. One of our main references in the work is the notion of the ecotone, which is a place in tension between two different ecologies – like a seashore or a forest edge. We use this term both to approach the spaces between our bodily ecologies as well as the spaces between two different physical practices or choreographic proposals. By spending time with these ‘in-betweens’ and working with thresholds into other states of being, we consider the piece as a choreographic journey of transformation. Each element, such as music, dance, light and costume, all have their own trajectory through the performance. Sometime synchronicity appears, other times it’s more a matter of co-existence and a sense dwelling in each other’s company – as one dwells by a stream of water. In relation to that we’ve been working with an idea of the choreography as a riverbed and the dance as the water streaming through it.
Snorre Elvin is a dancer and choreographer based in between Copenhagen and Berlin. Currently he’s doing an MA in choreography at The Danish National School of Performing Arts where he also graduated as a dancer in 2015. He is a part of the Copehangen based dance collective danseatelier and has been working with the international collective dance for plants through several years. He has presented work at XC.HuA, Pollution, Det Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen Contemporary, Dansehallerne and Lothringer 13 Halle. As a dancer he has been performing for Pedro Goméz-Egaña, Esben Weile Kjær, Tina Tarpgaard, Martin Forsberg and Naima Mazic amongst others